Planning a positive birth? Know your stuff!

I co-facilitate the East Devon Positive Birth Stories group. We meet once a month (currently online) to discuss birth in an informal way. Each month we hear birth stories from new parents. However, our group isn’t just about hearing the stories of new parents’ positive births and admiring their babies, it’s also about gleaning nuggets of wisdom. We hope that the handing down of knowledge from new parents to pregnant people might increase their chances of positive, empowered birth too.

During Sunday’s meeting two new mums kindly shared their birth stories. We discussed how planning and research contributed to their positive experiences. Basically, doing your homework and *knowing your stuff!*

We talked about finding sources of information on birth choices to decide your preferences and put together a meaningful birth plan. Beth and Clare suggested good birth books like “How to have a baby” by Natalie Meddings and well researched websites like

Our discussion spanned delayed cord clamping, having a managed third stage versus physiological and the potential benefits of perineal massage!! No holes are barred (!!) as it’s a safe space where confidentiality and personal choice are respected and no question is silly or trifling.

One new mum explained how she used the BRAIN acronym to help her make choices, both in putting together a birth plan and during her baby’s birth. She said the midwives may not have looked at her birth plan, but *she* knew what *she* wanted and why, as did her partner. We talked about how important it is for your partner, if you have one, to be involved, to understand the reasons for your preferences, so that they can advocate for you if necessary.

We talked doulas, how they can help provide balanced, up-to-date information on birth physiology and offer continuous support through labour and birth. We all agreed that they sound marvellous (ahem!!)

East Devon Positive Birth Stories is a discussion group. We are not health care professionals and do not offer advice or diagnoses. All the choices available to you in pregnancy, birth and parenthood should be researched so that you can evaluate the benefits and risks for your individual circumstances.

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